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Start-ups from Japan, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, South Korea and India came to Luxembourg for a few intense days of discovering Muhammad Ashfaq-Ur-Rehman, CEO, Finmaal what the country has to offer innovative companies and meet the tech business community at renowned tech fair ICT Spring. Their participation was facilitated by the Luxembourg Trade & Investment Offices (LTIOs). When speaking to them at the event, their enthusiasm was tangible.

I think Luxembourg is a hub in Europe, and I want to discover the opportunities here and in the surrounding countries.

“This is great – we are just at the beginning of the event, but it is going well. There is a lot of positive energy floating around,” said Muhammad Ashfaq-Ur-Rehman, CEO of fintech start-up Finmaal that is headquartered in Dubai. He was attracted by Luxembourg’s massive finance sector. “I think Luxembourg is a hub in Europe, and I want to discover the opportunities here and in the surrounding countries.”

LTIO support for entering the European market

Uriel Ekstein, co-founder and CBDO, VelotixUriel Ekstein, co-founder and CBDO of Israeli data analytics start-up Velotix, also finds the financial centre interesting. “Luxembourg is one of the focus points in Europe to connect with financial institutions, but not only that: there are also a lot of cloud providers and telecom companies here, which are very relevant for our business case,” he said. “One of our investors is from Luxembourg, and we also have a very strong and warm relationship with the country through Yael Idan at LTIO Tel Aviv. She has helped us connect with some companies in Luxembourg that might be potential partners. Yael also connected us with the Luxembourg House of Financial Technologies. We were one of the winners of its Catapult: Kickstarter acceleration programme in 2021, and are now trying to find the right traction in Luxembourg to open an office here.”

Even though Luxembourg may seem small, it is very diverse and people are really open-minded.

Taiwanese hardware security company WiSECURE Technologies was also invited by the local LTIO to make the trip to Luxembourg. “Sophie Liao from LTIO Taipei told us that Luxembourg is home to a lot of diverse enterprises in different industries. It is a data centre in Europe and the door to different European markets,” explained Marketing Director YuehChin Lin. “We always wanted to explore the European market, and we have not found any other European country that can provide as much resources as Luxembourg. Even though the country may seem small, it is very diverse and people are really open-minded. They are willing to share information and ideas in a way that I find amazing.”

European gateway

Mohamed Orikat, CEO, VoithyLuxembourg’s potential as an entry point to different markets was emphasised by all of the start-ups. “Our medical management solution targets senior and chronic patients, which is a big issue in Europe,” said Mohamed Orikat, CEO of Abu Dhabi-based healthtech start-up Voithy. “Being here in Luxembourg would give us a central access to several of our biggest markets: France, Germany, Italy and Spain. I think this would be a central place with everything we are looking for in order to penetrate Europe.”

We are considering having our branch office here to manufacture our satellites.

The skilled workforce and the opportunities to establish research partnerships are also magnets for start-ups. “We are considering having our branch office here to manufacture our satellites,” Hirokazu Mori, CEO of Japanese start-up Warpspace USA, told us. “We commercialise the world’s first inter-satellite optical communication network for Earth observation satellites, and are looking for international engineers who know about aerospace engineering. There are not so many in Japan, but here there are plenty of candidates. This is the reason why Luxembourg came out as a top European location for us.”

Before attending ICT Spring, Mr Mori participated in a one-day programme organised by LTIO Tokyo that included visits to Japanese companies already established in Luxembourg, the House of Startups and the Luxembourg Space Agency. “The Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) of the University of Luxembourg also has several research areas that are closely aligned to our business, such as communication in space and quantum key distribution (QKD). We are already talking to them about possible cooperation.”

Launch pad for growth

Juhui Heo, Assistant Manager Business Development, GINTICT Spring 2022 provided Juhui Heo, Assistant Manager Business Development at agritech start-up GINT, with the opportunity to visit Luxembourg for the first time. The company provides autonomous driving control solutions and intelligence platforms for precision agriculture and mobility, and joined the event to explore Luxembourg as a springboard for targeting the European, and later also the African, market.

I’ve been amazed by the welcoming atmosphere for international start-ups.

“I did not know anything about Luxembourg before coming here, but I’ve been amazed by the welcoming atmosphere for international start-ups,” Ms Heo said. “It is obvious that the country wants to provide the necessary conditions for international companies to grow from here. I will go back to Korea and tell my team manager why we should come to Luxembourg!”

Photos: Luxinnovation

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